Danish Defence Research Database


In the Shadows: The Challenge of Russian and Chinese Gray Zone Conflict for the West.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

Over the course of the last decade, Russia and China have emerged as the foremost competitors to US American supremacy. In their attacks on Western primacy, these competitor states target the very foundations of the Western order and its underlying understanding and practice of war. Their actions aim to exploit the Western distinction between peacetime and wartime embodied in the existing normative framework for war by remaining below the threshold of war. This gray area between war and peace as distinct conditions is what gives this form of conflict is name: gray zone conflict. Gray zone conflict creates a fundamental problem for the West because it limits the Western ability to use its superior military force against adversaries not playing by Western rules. This chapter analyzes these challenges, investigating why the West has difficulties responding to conflicts in the gray zone between peace and war and what the West can do to address these challenges. It shows gray zone conflict as clash of different temporalities: the strict Western distinction between war and peacetime on the one hand and the more comprehensive approaches by Russia and China that purposefully exploit said distinction on the other.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWar Time : Temporality and the Decline of Western Military Power
EditorsSten Rynning, Amelie Theussen, Olivier Schmitt
Number of pages23
Place of PublicationWashington DC
PublisherBrookings Institution Press
Publication date2 Mar 2021
ISBN (Print)9780815738947
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-8157-3895-4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021
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